Try it Before You Major In It!
You probably try on shoes and clothes before you buy them, right? I like to make sure my stuff fits me well and looks good on me, so I do!
While we ‘try things on’ such as our clothing, which we only wear for a few hours at the most, I find it odd that we do not do the same for potential career choices – things we must ‘wear’ for decades!
While YouTube abounds with videos of STEM professionals, most of them are nothing more than a person talking about their job, interview style. While it is useful to hear a STEM professional talk about what he or she does every day, I find it much more powerful to actually see what they do on a daily basis. To know whether or not I am going to like something, I need to see it – clothes and careers included! Below are my top picks for Day in the Life video collections of real STEM professionals actually doing STEM (not just talking about it)!
Day in the Life Videos – Real STEM Professionals in Action
USA.gov Jobs: The USA.gov YouTube channel has hundreds of engaging videos that show what real US government workers do in a wide variety of STEM fields. Interestingly, Day in the Life videos here are curated according to the main job function such as protecting America, tackling complex problems, and serving America.
ConnectEd: ConnectEd has a comprehensive library of interactive ‘day in the life’ videos for a wide variety of STEM careers. Check out their playlists for curated videos according to your field of interest, such as biomedical and health professions, engineering, or public service.
CareerPlayer: CareerPlayer features many STEM jobs, with emphasis on math and technology careers. While some of the videos are interview style, they often feature on the job footage as opposed to a talking head the entire time.
STEM Career Fields: If you already know what you are passionate about, start here. This page features 60+ STEM careers organized according to area of interest (animals, forensics, space, etc.). Choose what you love, then go through the different careers that match. Each career features a day in the life video and other free resources. For example, if you love the arts check out day in the life videos for the STEM careers of fashion designer, illustrator, and choreographer!
TIP: When browsing through YouTube ‘day in the life’ videos, choose the videos that have a cover image of what looks to be a worker in action. Those with cover images of a person talking are usually just that – a person talking!
The above resources provide excellent starting points to see real STEM professionals in action. To truly know whether or not a career is right for you, it is important to fully understand what that person actually does. As myself and millions of other Americans often find out, what we thought we wanted to be was not what we thought it would be! And the sooner you figure that out, the happier you will be 🙂 So get YouTubing!